The boy had bitten a large chunk out of a neighbor

and was heading for downtown. The state police

were called and they surrounded him down by

Miller’s pizza. First, they tried to talk to him, but

that ended when Tommy went after a mother who

was strolling her baby. They fired some rubber

bullets that knocked Tommy back and sent him

into a picnic table. “Tommy, we want to talk,”

one said. “How can we help you, Tommy?” another

said. “I’m sorry they did this to you,” a third said.

That one seemed to get through. Tommy stopped

drooling and growling and sat on a bench, crossing

his legs with his hands clasped on top of them.

“I’m ready to talk now,” he said. The officer put

down his gun and sat on the other side of the picnic

table. “What did they make you do?” he said. “They

made me mad, so I wouldn’t be able to stop myself

from eating that neighbor,” he said. “All you did was

take a bite,” the officer said. “I didn’t kill him,”

Tommy said. “Not even close,” the officer said.

“Take this,” the officer said. He handed the boy a

napkin to wipe his face. “Thanks,” the boy said.

The boy’s mother arrived on the scene. She ran

over to the table on all fours, drooling and screaming

like a banshee. “See what you’ve done to him,” she

said to the officer. “No mom, he’s all right,” the boy

said. “You’ve brainwashed him. Don’t look at me

like that,” she said. “Don’t let her take me officer,”

the boy said. Before he could respond, she took a

bite out of the officer’s arm and spit out the police

patch. She slung Tommy over her shoulder and ran

off into the trees at the edge of the power lines, where

she climbed a transformer and let out the most horrible

cry, sending the grackles up there scattering over the

rooftops like an airborne disease.